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Commentary — Churches must do better

By Sheila Stone

In regard to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops virtual meeting to discuss the Eucharistic “worthiness” of a high-profile Catholic.

Among the numerous emails I received was a note from our local Diocese explaining a virtual meeting of U.S. Bishops to discuss “Eucharistic worthiness.” This is in reality about Joe Biden and his decisions in regard to family planning. Pope Francis recently requested the U.S. Bishops refrain from considering this ban on public officials receiving Communion based on their stance on social issues.

I did not realize that, as Catholics, we need to prove our “worthiness” to our pastors based on our social or political beliefs. I often struggle with my own worthiness to receive Communion on any particular day; however, I feel that Communion may give me the strength to meet and survive some of the days we’ve had lately.

Joe Biden is a lifelong Catholic who attends Mass as president on Sundays and several other days during his busy schedule. He visits his son’s grave and that of his first wife and baby daughter, who are buried in a Catholic cemetery. His faith sustains him.

Biden has enabled the United States to purchase 500 million doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to be distributed in underserved countries.

This is how a true Catholic uses his podium — for the benefit of others and the common good.

Biden “walks the walk.”

So , let’s talk about abortion.

Between the years 2015 and 2019, pre-pandemic, there were 121 million unintended pregnancies worldwide. More than 60% of those pregnancies ended in deliberate termination. The Guttmacher Institute says that unintended pregnancy rates are highest in countries who restrict pregnancy termination and access to it.

I read that during the recent pandemic, many young women resorted to terminating their pregnancy early on with pharmacy drugs that are available. Most of those women were between the ages of 18 to 23.

According to “Behave: the Biology of Humans at our Best and Worst” the human brain isn’t fully developed until 25 years of age. An immature frontal cortex explains the spectrum of youthful behaviors, which makes adolescents sensation-seeking and risk-taking. This applies to both young girls and boys.

The Catholic church and all churches need to deal with reality.

Our leaders must do what they can to help those in most need and to put aside their own personal and religious beliefs to serve the common good.

If religious leaders like the bishops wish to consider anybody’s “worthiness” to receive a Sacrament, advocate for a 70% vaccination rate, hire women and pay them equally, support food banks for hungry children, create support groups for women and couples facing an unwanted pregnancy, help establish universal child care centers, lower tuition to church-run schools and nominate women to join in on the church decision-making where female futures are affected.

The sanctity of life does not stop once the child is born, the real mission begins then and continues for 18 years or more.

Sheila Stone resides in Duncansville.

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